AL Wild Card Game 1: Mariners vs. Blue Jays

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October 7

The Toronto Blue Jays are set to play host to the Seattle Mariners for Game 1 of their three-game series this afternoon from the Rogers Center.Seattle Mariners (+116) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (-136) Total: 7 (O -105, U -115)

Playoff baseball is back for the Mariners as they make their first appearance in October since 2001. Both rosters boast a lot of young talent, meaning these clubs could stick around over the next half-decade as contending teams in the American League. These franchises are set to send their aces to the bump in the opener, with the visiting Mariners starting trade deadline acquisition Luis Castillo. At the same time, the Blue Jays will counter with sophomore Alek Manoah. The M’s righty has been stellar all season long but has posted a 4-2 record with a 3.17 ERA and 77 strikeouts in a Seattle uniform. Manoah has been just as strong, owning a 16-7 record with a 2.24 ERA and 180 strikeouts. The Blue Jays starter has no postseason experience, while Castillo started one game for the Cincinnati Reds and was dominant, pitching into the sixth inning and allowing one earned run. Both pitchers appear to be of the big game variety, so this opener should be extremely tight. It’s hard to give either side a significant advantage in this matchup, and with both teams equally matched in many other facets, siding with the plus-money value of the Mariners in this opener makes sense. 

Best Bet: Mariners moneyline (+116)

It’s always risky to look at an under with a high-powered offense like the Blue Jays and another one capable of hitting their fair share of home runs like the Mariners. In addition, Castillo and Manoah should be able to control the game, and it’s unlikely we’ll see an offensive explosion from either side. Castillo has already posted a quality start against the Blue Jays, while the same can be said for Manoah against the Mariners. As a result, it could be up to the bullpens to decide this game, which will play a significant role in whether the over or under hits. Both bullpens have had some rocky moments, but each side has a solid backend. Targeting the under seven has some value attached at -115. 

Best Bet: Under 7 (-115)

It’s hard to base a lot off just one start, but Manoah was dominant earlier this season against the Mariners, striking out seven. Not only did he pitch well in that matchup, but he’s entering the postseason as one of the hottest arms in baseball after winning the American League pitcher of the month in September. The big right-hander is set to make his first career playoff start and has the personality to thrive in this type of setting. Manoah pitched deep into games down the stretch and should continue that trend against the Mariners. The right-hander was just shy of one strikeout per inning this season, and if he can pitch into the seventh, there’s value in siding with his alternate strikeout prop of seven or more. 

Best Prop: Alex Manoah 7+ Strikeouts (+124)

Thumbnail photo via John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

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